Atholville medical marijuana facility approved for production

A proposed medical marijuana production facility in Atholville, N.B., has received a production licence from Health Canada.

Zenabis, which already has infrastructure set up in the northern New Brunswick community, has been waiting for approval since buying a warehouse in 2014.

The new plant will be one of the largest in Canada at almost 1.3 million square feet.

While the plant was set up with medical marijuana in mind, Régis Maltais, president of the Campbellton Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the plant expects to grow recreational marijuana when the drug becomes legal, which is expected by July 2018.

In August 2016, the provincial government gave Zenabis a loan of $4 million to help build the plant. That money would have to be paid back even without federal approval to produce medical marijuana.

At the time, the province said the facility would create more than 200 jobs in northern New Brunswick once it's operational and contribute $15 million annually to New Brunswick's gross domestic product.

Zenabis would not agree to an interview with Radio-Canada and has not responded to interview requests from CBC News.